40 Years of Marriage…

This real wedding feature is one with a bit of a difference… it is a real wedding, and it did take place in Kent, but it was also forty years ago; forty years ago today to be exact. And my parents were the happy couple.

Today we are celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary with them (albeit not quite as planned - thank you COVID-19) but they recently spent a morning telling me all about their special day. I knew some of the stories, of course, but I also got to ask some questions I’d never thought to ask them before.

They met when they were both 16, on the seafront at Folkestone, where my mum grew up and lived; my dad was in the Junior Leader branch of the army at the time at Shorncliffe Barracks.

They got engaged after two years and at least four marriage proposals by my dad, but that’s another story! They were married two years later, on Saturday 12 July 1980 at United Reform Church, Folkestone, with the afternoon reception at a nearby hotel. They only wanted a small wedding, and so there were about twenty-five people there in total. It was very much a family affair, with my mum’s mum making the simple, but beautiful soft ivory dress (with detachable train, which my mum loved!) and the tiered cake, whilst friends of the family provided the car and did the photography. My dad wore his No.1 Dress Blues, which was the Walking Out dress for the Coldstream Guards.

When I asked them what the most memorable part of the day was, my dad said it was when my mum walked down the aisle towards him (awww!) and my mum said it was her dad’s Father of the Bride speech, which she described as ‘funny, tender and extremely moving’. He wrote it on a paper napkin at the start of the reception, and ended it by saying ‘and even now, she’s still my bubba’.

One particularly amusing story from the day is their departure; they had told everyone that they were staying in London that night, before going on their honeymoon, so they had to be on an early train (and so leave the reception early!) when in fact, they were staying at a nearby B&B. An aunt wanted to see them off at the train station, and couldn’t be persuaded not to, so they, and about fifteen guests, went to the train station. They managed to get tickets to the next stop about a mile away, have a big send-off at the station, and then get a taxi from the other station and double-back to the B&B, ducking down in the car as they passed all the guests going back to the reception!

When asked if there were any modern trends they wished they’d included on their day, my mum said she wished she’d worn bold coloured shoes - something a bit different to the typical white or ivory. They both agreed that if they had their day again, they would still have a small, intimate wedding, but that they would make it more informal and relaxed.

I ended the interview by asking what they thought the secret to a long and happy marriage is, and they said it takes sacrifice and compromise on both sides, and the desire to make it work; marriage is not always easy. The other thing that they said was very important is… laughter, and lots of it! I think there’s definitely some truth in that, as they’re always laughing together, be it at or with each other!

They had planned to celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary with an incredible trip to Croatia, but due to the lockdown restrictions imposed by COVID-19, they had to cancel. We will, however, be having a (socially distanced) family picnic, so we can celebrate together.

I would just like to thank my mum and dad for agreeing to let me use their story for this blog, and many congratulations again on your fortieth wedding anniversary! x

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